Monday, December 31, 2018

Whom shall I fear? Psalm 3

Lessons from Psalms: Chapter 3

Read the Chapter online by clicking here

Psalms 3:1
“(A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.) LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.”

Do you ever feel like all around you are enemies that you are just finding out that you have? Sometimes it can seem overwhelming.

Psalms 3:2
“Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.”

And then, when it begins to depress you, and you are noticeably miserable in front of everyone, perhaps crying, and feeling alone and forsaken, everyone looks upon you with contempt; as if you are a plague that they would rather not have around. All of the faith and light that used to emanate from you seems faded and gloomy. It causes them not to question you, but your God that you profess to have faith in.

Psalms 3:3
“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

This is when it is most important for you to remember whose child you are, who you belong to. You are a child of the most high God. If you can remember this, it helps to lift your heavy head. Your heart feels lighter. You can almost smile.

Psalms 3:4
“I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.”

This is the time when prayer is most important; because, if you truly have faith, then you KNOW that He hears you.

Psalms 3:5
“I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me.”

Then, after you pray, you will find a peace that surpasses all understanding. You find that you can sleep better. You can KNOW that God's got this!

Psalms 3:6
“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”

The fear and loneliness fades away with the morning light. You awaken with a fresh perspective. You even smile in the mirror, because you know who's child you are.

Psalms 3:7
“Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.”

When you leave the house, and find yourself surrounded, once again with all those who spoke out against you and made fun of you and forsook you because of your visible struggle, your renewed confidence is now just as visible. Your demeanor has changed. They now look at you with curiosity -- they are quiet. They move to give you room to walk through them. They wonder what has happened and think twice about commenting, or acting in a negative way around you.

Psalms 3:8
“Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.”

And, as the new day comes to an end, you find you have accomplished more than you thought you could, should, or would for His glory. All credit belongs to Him.

It helps to remember that David felt this way once. David went through this. You are not alone.

Saturday, December 29, 2018


Lessons from Psalms: Chapter 2

Read the Chapter online by clicking here

In today's world, the news is constantly filled with those who would ban the Bible and its teachings, and rid the world of Christianity and Judaism. Following the Word of God is hard for those who love sin and walk in its path. Those people would rather not have a moral compass so that guilt would not exist.

Imagine a world that can rationalize away murder, rape, theft and all sorts of bad behavior. There is always an excuse. It is never anyone's own fault. It can be because of a bad childhood, an abusive situation, a dire-looking future, or just because it felt good at the time or temporary insanity.

What the Bible does not do is allow anyone to make excuses. It calls each of us to be held responsible for his or her own sin. It makes us all accountable for our own actions and for the actions of the nations in which we live.

If there is one thing that is missing from the newest generations, it is personal accountability and self-control. Without it, we have a godless society.

Instead of following God, our world now faces headlines about bakers being sued for not wanting to make a wedding cake for homosexuals. Teachers are fired for mentioning their faith in the classroom. Babies are aborted by the millions as genocide is in progress all over the earth. Our country is being overrun by those who would come in and have no respect for our laws or our way of life. Our own citizens have been cast aside and face unemployment to make room for people who worship different gods, have different beliefs and care nothing for our history or our constitution. Children are orphaned or abused because the moral compass has been broken. Human trafficking has become a big problems, and the demon of drug addiction has taken hold in households across the nation, terrorizing everyone that addicts come in contact with.

If this trend keeps up and is allowed to gather momentum, our nation as we see it today will cease to exist.

But, God has given us a way out through His Word which is written in the Bible:

2 Chronicles 7:14
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Chapter 2
1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Humble and Kind

Lessons from Psalms: Chapter 1

Read the Chapter online by clicking here

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Don't hang out with trouble-makers. Stay away from mean-spirited and evil people. Don't get caught up in their drama. Don't participate in their games. Don't seek their advice. And, don't become like them. They think anyone who is not like them, or who is not them is worthless, and they have contempt for anything that is not thought of or created by themselves. In short, they are selfish and prideful. This verse basically tells you not to be selfish and prideful people.

The Bible has a lot to say about being humble. Being humble is what sets the Christian apart from the rest of the world. Until a person learns to humble himself, he can never truly understand what it means to be grateful. By humbling ourselves, we understand how undeserving we are of the Grace that God gives us through Jesus Christ.

Matthew 23:12
“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

James 4:6
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

On a personal note: For me, this is hard -- because I am by nature a braggart. I love to show off. My whole life I have wanted to show off. But, on December 31, 2013 when I gave all I had to God and asked Jesus to lead me -- mind, body and soul -- I was set on a course that has led me on a journey I never in a million years would have traveled without God.

Recognizing this, I have learned that I don't need to show off. God needs to be shown off. God gets the credit for all of my blessings since that day.

John 15:5
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

What Psalms 1:1 does NOT say:

This verse does not say you shouldn't hang out with the less fortunate, the dirty, the sick, the poor, or anyone who is struggling in any way. Being humble means not being afraid of getting your hands dirty, or working up a sweat to do the right thing at the right time for God. Being God's hands and feet require you, at times, to reach into the mud and dirt, and even in the darkness, to bring light and purity to the world.

I am constantly reminding myself, when I see someone less fortunate who is struggling today, that I used to be that person. Then, I hear God speaking to me, telling me that it would take very little for me to be that person again, and that I should stay vigilant in the Word, and continue to follow Him.

1 John 3:17
“But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

Chapter 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Let it Start with Me...

1 John 3
17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

I've been "church'n" today. Listening to God's Word and what He has to say.

God gives us all gifts. Not all of us are called to be a youth pastor, or sweep the church after everyone leaves. Some of us are called to be the hands and feet of God right where we are.

Maybe you saw that pregnant girl on the street corner who has nowhere to go, and doesn't know how she is going to make it until her next meal. Instead of judging her for all the reasons you can think of for being there, why not approach her, get to know her, find out the truth, see if she is ready for a hand up? That extra bedroom you now have since your little girl went off to college could be there for a reason. Instead of selling that big old house just because you don't like the room, try filling those rooms up with God's love. Maybe your little girl was just the training you needed. Now, there is opportunity for more.

Perhaps you don't have the room. But, you have a car. And, you have the time. That homeless veteran who needs a ride to the VA clinic, sure would thank you. Maybe he needs helps getting his prescriptions filled.

Or, maybe you made a big casserole last night and only ate half of it. There is a homeless camp just down the rode with a few people in it that sure wouldn't turn down a home-cooked meal.

How about those old clothes that you don't wear anymore? There is a girl down the street who lives in an old house who is struggling to pay the bills, and winter is coming. I'm sure she would appreciate that old jacket you can't wear anymore...or those dishes you were thinking about giving to the Salvation Army.

I'm not knocking the Sally or Goodwill, but the money they make off your old stuff doesn't fill the immediate needs of that single father who is struggling to raise his baby girl alone when he can't find a decent job that will cover his childcare expenses. He could sure use that swing set your kids grew out of -- or their old clothes, for that matter.

There are lots of ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Especially here, in Texarkana. How often do you look around and say, "Lord, give me an opportunity."

Perhaps you see a need that you can't fill, but you know someone who can. Do you leave that needy person alone because you can't fill it and hope they find the help they need? Or do you talk with them and take them by the hand and lead them to the person who can?

I'm just saying.

Sometimes, we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus right here, right now. Not just on Sunday. Not just at the church house.

You ARE the church. YOU are the only Jesus some of these people will ever see.

Be what you are called to be!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


The word abide, in every instance used in the Bible, means "to stay".

John 15
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

For the past few weeks, I've learned, more deeply, what that meant. More importantly, I've learned the consequences of "not abiding".

"Stay in me, and I in you," said Jesus. This means to have Jesus permeate your life: the music you listen to, the purpose you wake up for, your goals, your thoughts, your prayers, how you look at the world around you, how you look at the world to come -- everything about your life should have Jesus in it.

For the past few years I've listened to nothing but Christian music. I've went to church every time the doors opened. I went about my daily business not asking what God can do for me, but for what I can do for Him today.

Then, I got several personal blows in my life that sent my heart reeling. Though I did not question my faith, I know I felt angry and hurt. For weeks, I stopped listening to Christian music. I stopped "moving". I just "existed".

I continued to read and contemplate the Book of Job. I grasped at the strings of my faith, refusing the ropes in my "anger".

I went through the motions, and I never outwardly denied my God, or His power, but my heart was bitter.

A couple of years ago, I had an experience that was similar but not as deep with-in me. It was enough to realize that I needed help. So, I went to a local minister and asked about it.

I was told that a relationship has its ups and downs, and with God, it isn't any different. When you commit yourself to someone, you don't stop loving them when they don't meet YOUR expectations. And, since love is an ACTION and not an EMOTION, you don't stop doing it, in spite of how you feel.

The proper response is to ask God to change your "want to".


I have failed so miserably.

Today, I picked up the headphones, plugged into Pandora radio, and listened to Lauren Diagle and Jason Crabb, and all of those other greats who praise the Lord with their music.

I watched inspirational movies.

I prayed, in spite of how I felt.

And, now I realize that, after weeks of feeling secluded, I should have done that to begin with.

"As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye stay in me," Jesus said.

I realize that I have not been very fruitful with my inspiration or my reaching out lately. The branch, though still on the vine, hasn't been very fruitful, and looking at the next verse, it is scary.

"If a man stay not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

What good is a branch that doesn't bear fruit?

Today, I praise God. I feel the veil of anger lifting. I trust. I say "Hallelujah, Anyhow!"

And, I feel better.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Did you get the message?

Did you get the message?

You know, if anyone ever had a reason to be angry and rebellious, it was Jesus Christ. He KNEW the hearts of men. He saw the murders and the rapes and the destruction of mankind. He could have chosen, as a man, to question the Father who sent Him to die for such an ungrateful, angry, sinful and rebellious people.

Instead, as God, He let his love rule over His emotions. He had a message to share. He had hope to give. He had love to spread. He focused on what was to come rather than the here and now. He tried to teach us to do the same.

And, if that meant He had to let an angry, rebellious and sinful crowd torture Him and put Him on a cross, then so be it. It was worth it for what we would learn from it.

Did you get the message? Or, are you still angry, questioning God's love to the point of rebellion, and sinful without remorse?

He didn't come to stop the murders and the rapes and the sins that abound. He came to give hope to the murderer for forgiveness, that if he turns away from his sin, he could have peace, love and understanding in eternity. He came to give hope to the thief, that if he would turn from his sin, God would freely give him riches in Glory. He came to give hope to the rapist, that if he turned from his sin, God would give him a desire to serve and please rather than take and pillage, with peace in his heart. God would take away the anger, the hurt and the feelings of vengeance and replace it with joy, love and forgiveness that would last for all of eternity. He died for the gunman who shoots up churches and schools, pleading with him to repent, before someone else takes the chance He gives him away for eternity.

Sure, God could snap His fingers and make it all go away right now...but then you would never get the opportunity to know Him as your Friend, rather than your master.

The choice is yours.

Did you get the message?

Luke 17:1
Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

Jeremiah 31:34
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Romans 8:1-39
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. ...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Broken Praise

Today my study was in Job Chapter 11

Sometimes we suffer. It's inevitable. It's going to happen.

Maybe you find yourself depressed, or ill, or alone, or overwhelmed. No matter what the suffering is about, you will always find well-meaning friends who try to help you, but end up making you feel worse than you already do.

Perhaps that is part of the process.

God wants you to stand on your own feet in front of Him. He wants the relationship you have with Him to be personal, not commune. In a myriad of personal experiences the commune inevitably grows.

You know your pain better than anyone else -- except God. And, trust is the issue.

Do you trust God to do what is best for you?

The Bible calls us to endure suffering. Endure. If we can endure until the end with the Praise of God still on our lips, we shall be saved.

Chapter 11

1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,

2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?

3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?

4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.

5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;

6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

7 Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?

11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?

12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

13 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;

14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.

15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:

16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:

17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.

18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.

19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.

20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.